Bourse tad weaker in thin trade

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Stocks fell for a fourth straight session on Tuesday, led by blue-chips such as John Keells Holdings as investors remained cautious ahead of the 8 January presidential poll. The main stock index ended 0.09%, or 6.70 points, lower at 7,223.56, its lowest close since 9 December. “There was limited activity. Political worries are hindering market activity,” a stockbroker said on condition of anonymity. “Investors expect political stability after the election and until such time we may hardly see any big activity unless Government funds boost the index.” Turnover stood at Rs. 543.7 million ($4.15 million), according to stock exchange data, well below this year’s daily average of Rs. 1.42 billion. Analysts and stockbrokers expect trading to be sluggish due to political uncertainty ahead of the presidential polls next month and the index to fall through December-end. Foreign investors bought a net Rs. 57.4 million worth of shares, extending their net buying so far this year to Rs. 22 billion, exchange data showed. Shares in Keells fell 0.79% to Rs. 250. Nineteen candidates, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena, the consensus candidate of a united Opposition, submitted their nominations on Monday. So far 11 loyalists from Rajapaksa’s United People’s Freedom Alliance, including Sirisena, have defected after he announced snap elections last month, while two Opposition legislators have joined the ruling party. Speculation over more defections also weighed on sentiment, analysts said.